Monday, September 27, 2004

BDA plans eco-friendly mega layout

Mega layout to be eco-friendly

The Hindu

India's first ever eco-friendly residential layout will be formed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and it will also be the largest housing layout in the country.

It was the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, who mooted the idea of forming a mega residential layout to ease the housing problem in Bangalore, has also been closely coordinating with the BDA to ensure that the new layout has some unique features. The complaints over the Arkavathi Layout soon after the coalition Government took charge apparently prompted the Chief Minister to think of a mega layout that could eclipse all other housing layouts in the country.

The Chief Minister told The Hindu that solving the housing problem in the State in general and Bangalore in particular would be an important task of the coalition Government. While the stress would be on providing shelter to the economically weaker sections and the oppressed classes, formation of well-planned layouts for all sections of people was also a priority. The emphasis would also be on horizontal growth rather than vertical growth which led to congestion and gave rise to problems in sewerage and garbage disposal.

Location kept secret

The Government has issued strict instructions to the BDA not to reveal the location of the mega layout as it could have a cascading effect on land prices in and around Bangalore. The real estate market is once again witnessing a boom over the past few months with land prices increasing by over Rs. 500 or more a square foot in some parts of Bangalore. It had touched a low in 2002 when the prices dropped by over Rs. 750 a square foot in certain areas.

The BDA Commissioner, M.N. Vidyashankar, told The Hindu that the BDA had entered into an agreement with a renowned environmental expert to form the first ever eco-friendly layout. The environmental expert has also worked for the governments of Punjab, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh.

Mr. Vidyashankar said the main features of the mega layout would include installation of an in-house (in the layout) tertiary sewage treatment plant. Each house in the layout would be connected with two water supply lines — one carrying potable water and another non-potable water. Further, while each house in the layout would have to compulsorily harvest rainwater, the excess rainwater would be collected by the authorities and treated at the sewerage plant and recycled.

Mr. Vidyashankar said the water supply tariff would be such that the people in the layout did not overuse the potable water. In other words, up to a certain limit, the tariff for potable water would be reasonable and for any excess consumption it would be much higher thus compelling the residents to use non-potable water for gardening, cleaning and so on. The estimation was that an individual would require not more than 150 litres of potable water a day.

Unique feature

Even in the Arkavathi Layout, which is under formation, rainwater harvesting would be compulsory and each house would have two water supply lines — potable and non-potable. The unique feature in the mega layout was that the sewage treatment plant would be located within the layout while in the case of the Arkavathi Layout, the water in the nearby Hebbal sewage plant would be recycled. The BDA was going ahead with the formation of the Arkavathi Layout and the tendering for civil works would be announced on September 27, Mr. Vidyashankar said. The formation of the layout would commence in November and the allotment of sites commenced from January 16.

The formation of the mega layout would commence by June next and the process would be gone through with transparency. The allotment of sites would be fully computerised without room for any irregularities, he said. However, with the demand for house sites increasing in Bangalore, the BDA still has a long way to go. Next year, the authority plans to allot a record 75,000 sites.


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